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Poll: Support drops for Measure 97, Richardson leads

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Support for the corporate sales tax measure on Nov. 8 general election ballot has dropped sharply since September and it now trails by a margin of 49 percent “no” to 45 percent “yes” in a new poll commissioned by Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The poll of 600 Oregon voters was conducted in recent days by Portland-based DHM Research. Measure 97 led by 60 percent “yes” to 30 percent “no” when the firm conducted a similar poll for OPB two months ago.

The decline comes as both sides in the race are spending millions of dollars on dueling TV ads and mailings. Supporters have raised around $10 million this year — almost all it from public employee unions. Opponents have raised about $17 million, almost entirely from corporations.

Measure 97 would impose a 2.5 percent tax on publicly traded corporations with annual sales of more than $25 million. The Oregon Legislature will determine how the money is spent if it is approved.

The 15-point drop in support for Measure 97 may be steep, but the outcome is similar to a poll conducted by Survey USA in recent days, although the margin is much closer. That poll, sponsored by KATU News, had the measure losing by a margin of 44 percent “no” and 29 percent “yes.”

In other poll results:

• Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump for President by a margin of 43 percent to 36 percent. Libertarian Party candidate Gov. Gary Johnson has 7 percent, Green Party candidate Jill Stein has 5 percent, and the rest are undecided.

• Democrat Kate Brown leads Republican Bud Pierce for Oregon governor by a margin of 46 percent to 33 percent. None of the minor party candidates have more than 3 percent and 12 percent are undecided.

• Republican Dennis Richardson leads Democrat Brad Avakian by a margin of 34 percent to 29 percent. None of the minor party candidates have more than 3 percent and 24 percent are undecided.

• Measures to fund services for veterans (96), fund high school dropout prevention programs (98), and fund outdoor school education (99) area all poised to pass by large margins.

Although Trump has recently charged the election is “rigged,” Oregon voters overwhelmingly believe in the state’s vote-by-mail system. According to the poll, 87 percent view the system either very or somewhat positively, and 83 percent are either very or somewhat confident their votes will be counted accurately.

DHM Research has been providing opinion research and consultation throughout the Pacific Northwest and other regions of the United States for more than three decades. The firm is nonpartisan and independent and specializes in research projects to support public policy making.

The poll was conducted between Oct. 6 and 13. Respondent were conducted from a list of registered voters, half by cell phones and half by landlines. It has a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.

For more details, listen to OPB at 91.5 FM and visit www.opb.org/news/series/election-2016/hillary-clinton-kate-brown-lead-in-new-opb-poll/